Sangre de Cristo Acequia Association

The Sangre de Cristo Acequia Association (SdCAA) is a 501(c)3 organization representing over 73 acequias in Colorado, which in turn support approximately 300 families. Our office is located in the town of San Luis, Colorado.

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Part-Time Contract Position: Soil Health Specialist

The Sangre de Cristo Acequia Association (SdCAA) and Colorado Open Lands (COL) are seeking an independent contractor to help our organizations implement a new soil health incentive program in Colorado’s acequia communities. The Soil Health Specialist will oversee the rollout of the STAR Plus program, an initiative created by the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) that aims to improve soil health on farms and ranches across the state by helping producers evaluate their current production system, incorporate new management practices, and share their successes.


Producer Enrollment
  • Work with the SdCAA to advertise the STAR+ program across the acequia community.
  • Enroll 10 acequia producers in the STAR+ program using criteria established by the SdCAA.
  • Assist producers in establishing farm records with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to determine enrollment eligibility.
  • Conduct soil health consultations with each interested producer to identify new practices that can improve soil health.
  • Hold periodic in-person check-ins with all STAR+ producers over a 3-year period.
  • Work closely with CDA’s Technical Assistance Providers to ensure that timely assistance is provided to enrolled producers.
  • Secure and distribute producer incentive payments over a 3-year period; track and report producer receipts, costs, and disbursements.
  • Soil Health Outreach, Education, and Research

  • Host one field day over the course of the program to discuss soil health best practices and share knowledge.
  • Connect farmers and ranchers with information and resources about soil health.
  • Support soil moisture monitoring and participate in STAR+ research alongside CSU.
  • STAR+ Program Administration

  • Attend training webinars and maintain close communication with CDA.
  • Submit quarterly progress reports to the CDA.
  • Attend monthly meetings of the SdCAA.
  • Meet regularly with and provide periodic reports to COL staff to ensure STAR+ program goals and deliverables are being met.
  • Education and/or experience in crop production, soil or plant science, agronomy, or similar
  • Knowledge of soil health principles and best practices, ideally including knowledge of or experience with the CDA’s STAR Program
  • Experience in traditional flood irrigation and techniques, and familiarity with the acequia system of water management
  • Proficiency in preparing and organizing farm records and other paperwork associated with government agencies such as the FSA
  • Ability to build partnerships and engage with producers from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds and circumstances
  • Ability to share complex information in a manner tailored to different audiences
  • Strong organizational and time management skills, and careful attention to detail
  • Willingness to travel across the San Luis Valley using your own vehicle with mileage reimbursement
  • A valid driver’s license and good driving record
  • Ability to communicate in Spanish a plus
  • Pay range is $40-$75 per hour depending on experience and qualifications
  • Mileage will be reimbursed at the current federal rate for travel within Alamosa, Conejos, and Costilla Counties.
  • Work Arrangement:

  • This is a part-time independent contractor position.
  • Hours per week will vary from 5-20+ depending on project phase and producer needs. The initial producer enrollment phase is expected to require the largest time commitment.
  • Start date is flexible, ideally on or before November 1, 2023.
  • Contracts will run for 1 year with potential for renewal; the ideal applicant would continue through the end of the program in fall 2027.
  • The contract will be with Colorado Open Lands under the supervision of Joel Nystrom, COL’s Conservation Project Manager based in Alamosa.
How to Apply:
  • Send your resume and a brief cover letter to Joel Nystrom, Conservation Project Manager at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • This position is open until filled.
  • For more information on the STAR+ program, visit their website at:


The Colorado Acequia Handbook:

This handbook provides guidance to acequia users in Colorado. The handbook is a joint effort between the SdCAA, CU Law, Colorado Open Lands, and others.

Colorado Acequia Handbook - Third Edition

Colorado Acequia Handbook First Edition - Español